Wandering and a Parent with Dementia
Clara and her family were at the local park, a place they had visited countless times. Her and her mother would catch up on the week’s happenings while her two twins, who were just entering elementary school, laughed and giggled and joined with the other kids on the swings and slides. She’d excused herself for a quick restroom break and when she’d returned, her mother was gone.
This scenario occurs countless times in numerous ways every day. Six out of ten people that have dementia will wander. They get confused, even in familiar places, and usually go in search of something familiar—or a way back to a home they have forgotten. Many times those who wander are looking for something specific that they just can’t put a name on. The plaques and protein entanglements in their brain that are killing off neurons have created a vacuum where memories and meaning use to exist.
Protecting Your Parent
Because of the frequency of this event, people have come together to determine a solution. While the following can’t guarantee your parent won’t wander, they can help minimize the risk and make it easier to locate them when and if the situation arises.
• Radio Tracking Device. There are several types, makes and models of these devices on the market. Depending on your needs and if your parent lives alone will determine which one is best suited for you and your family. They have models that you can set a specific boundary—say your parent’s yard—and when your loved one goes out of the designated area, an alarm sounds and the caregiver is notified. Other’s use a third party system which charges a monthly fee and notifies local law enforcement with your parent’s exact location based upon the GPS tracking device.
• Project Lifesaver. The mission of this non-profit organization is to “provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, autism, and other conditions.” It uses radio frequency tracking technology along with trained and certified public safety officials. A similar program designed by the Alzheimer’s Organization—Medic Alert—is designed to facilitate the safe return of those who wander.
• To help prevent this scenario from occurring, create a daily routine that your parent can count on. This helps them feel safe and secure in a world that is rapidly changing. To this same end, avoid busy places where they can become easily disoriented. Wandering often happens when a person feels agitated. This time of day commonly occurs when a person becomes tired and restless. Keep your parent engaged and active by creating relaxing activities at this time such as an evening stroll, a warm bath in sea salts and lavender, or enjoying a shared meal while watching one of their favorite movies.
• An elder care provider can be there for your parent when you can’t. They have cared for countless seniors facing this disease and know the strategies that work to help keep them safe. They provide the companionship and care so vital to those experiencing the many changes associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
If you or an aging senior in your life are considering elder care in Newport Beach, CA, please contact the caring staff at In Home Care Solutions today. Call (949) 239-0488 to speak with our caring staff.
Dr. Kay got her medical education in Brazil.
Dr. Kay also has a master degree in Film and Television from UCLA and has been an adviser for medical television shows.
Dr. Kay is very active in the Health Industry. She is a member of the American Board of Home Care, the National Association of Home Care, CAHSAH, California Association of Health Services at Home. She co-chairs the education committee for the Down with Falls Coalition. Dr. Kay is in the speaker’s bureau for the coalition helping educate health care professionals and the community on fall risks, diabetes, adverse drug reaction, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, dehydration and nutrition, etc…. for older adults.
Dr. Kay was nominated by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) as the Remarkable Woman of 2008.
Dr. Kay is actively involved in many philanthropy and non-profit organizationssuch as the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, the Philharmonic Society, Women Helping Women, Youth Employment Services, E-Women, Women Sage, Plasticos Foundation, CIELO and others.
Dr. Kay’s passion is to assist seniors to live long and thrive in the comfort of their own home.
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